She was sitting beneath palm trees that were beautifully landscaped in front of several small businesses in Florida on a major highway. Behind the row of shops were million dollar homes about a mile from the beach to the front that lined the bay towards the back of the subdivision.
As I approached, her dog took a more defensive stance and started barking. I kneeled down as I snapped the picture and began to talk with her. When she saw that I meant no harm, she placed her right hand on the dogs head and he quickly got quiet and soon sat down next to her.
During our conversation I noticed the woman would violently jerk her head back, almost falling backwards into the grass and sand that she was sitting on. As usual, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked before I asked anything else, “Why are you jerking your head back like that and then grabbing your side as if it hurts?” She said in a soft whisper, “I have neurological damage from drugs - to be honest with you.” The conversation then flowed from there.
She told me that she was a long time meth user, but had recently quit. “The meth is to blame,” she said while patiently waiting for my next question. It was as if she were there to be interviewed. “When did you quit,” I asked her. She quickly responded, “About two months ago.” I replied, “Man, I bet that was hard to do!” She smiled as she jerked her head back with legs coming off the ground, “No, not really.” I said, “You should be proud to be off of it, I heard that is a hard drug to break.”
As the conversation continued and she continued to have violent twitches, I asked her why she was sitting on the side of the road. “I am taking a break for the afternoon, I’m walking to Las Vegas,” she quipped. “Are you serious? That is about 1900 miles away,” I said with surprise. She told me that she was indeed serious, but first must walk to Michigan to drop the dog off with her son.
Not to keep her too long, one question remained… “Why do you keep grabbing at your side when you twitch?” She smiled and laughed… “I got into a fight while in Panama City at an athletic event – I’m pretty fit.” I felt like I should as, so I did. “How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?” She quickly came back without a pause, “50.”
The next day I saw that she made it another 10-miles by foot. Of course, she has another 1,100 miles to reach Michigan and then from Michigan to Las Vegas, 2,014 miles.